I’m going to come out and say it: I love literally everything in this episode.
The opening few minutes are among my favorite in the entire series. Watching Deku struggle to deal with the sudden praise and admiration of people he doesn’t even know is both adorable and totally heartwarming. It’s also a great milestone to his growth as a character, as he’s gone from a boy no one would think twice about to a bonified celebrity. It’s simple, cute and fun, and moments like these are why I love this show.
Right after this, we get a great, albeit brief, scene with Deku and Iida, wherein Iida tells Deku not to worry about him. On the surface, this scene doesn’t seem like much. But there are some really solid choices in direction here. Mainly, in Iida’s eyes. During the whole exchange, we only see them one, when he forces a smile for Deku. Whenever he turns his back, his glasses become tinted, hiding his eyes from the viewer. This perfectly communicates Iida’s blindness to those around him, and it manages to create an air of mystery. What is Iida thinking? What is he really feeling? It’s subtle, silent, and it adds an extra layer of depth to both the episode and the characters. This is some serious A+ directing here!
But no need to feel down for too long! After this, the show leaps straight into my absolute favorite aspect: Class 1-A’s banter with one another. As per usual, it’s all too brief, and the plot picks right back up immediately. First, we set up for the Internship Arc, then leap straight into the titled topic: picking names.
This takes up a major chunk of the episode, and I love every god damn minute of it! The different names they come up with are great, ranging from the cute to the cool to the hilarious. It also feels like a real school project, as they’re all forced to present them to the class. They even manage to sprinkle in an Aliens reference!
I haven’t related this much to super heroes since One Punch Man! I feel like I’m in high school again. Though that doesn’t entirely feel like a good thing…
*Quick note: Bakugo’s Hero name is actually an incredibly subtle and creative pun. See, in Japanese, ‘King Explosion Murder’ is more along the lines of ‘Baksatsuo’, a play on words. ‘Baksatsuo’ and ‘Bakugo’. It’s a damn shame that doesn’t come through in English, because damn is that clever!*
Sprinkled in all this cuteness is one of Iida’s defining moments. Here, we learn that his brother, Ingenium, is paralyzed from the waist down. And his final wish as a hero is for Iida to take up his name and keep the legacy of Ingenium going. But Iida can’t quite bring himself to it, thus setting up for his arc in the following story.
Then we get the defining moment of Deku. The reason I still call him Deku over Midoriya. After a season and a half of growth, Deku decides his very own hero name: Deku.
After this is said and done, we officially fly into table setting mode. Everyone selects their internships, and bam! We’re off! Iida heads off to the city where his brother was attacked, Todoroki goes to work for his father, and Deku goes to work for a new character: Gran Torino, All Might’s former teacher.
We also get a bit of character development from Uraraka. After her battle with Bakugo, she’s decided to further hone her combat abilities. Thus, she’s going to join a combat focused agency. This will lead to some of my favorite moments in the whole show. But that’s for another day.
This is also the first time in which we see All Might genuinely afraid. It’s a genuinely hilarious scene, especially as it doubles as an introductory scene of sorts to Gran Torino. It’s simple, cute, and it still gives me a good laugh.
Unfortunately, the next character introduction is quite the opposite. Before everyone leaves for their internships, we learn more about Stain from a brief mental monologue in Deku’s head. This, combined with Iida’s departure, perfectly set up for the battle with the Hero Killer.
Also, side note: the creepy music that plays when Iida leaves is one of the shortest and most underappreciated tracks in the whole fucking series. It’s rad as hell, and I will dig to the center of the god damn earth to find it! When I do, you can be sure I’ll link to it.
Provided I do. It’s a deep pit down there…
But wait, there’s more! We’ve still got one more gut busting scene: the true introduction to Gran Torino! After the credits, Deku comes across the tiny old hero in his apartment. It’s a brief and hilarious scene, and the comedic timing is absolutely on point! This is a fantastic way to wrap up the episode!
As I said in the beginning: I love everything about this episode. It perfectly balances cute with dramatic and bone chilling, perfectly pacing the tone changes all throughout the episode as to not jar the viewer. The direction is rock solid, filled to the brim with subtle details that improve the experience on repeat viewings. It’s absolutely adorable, featuring some of the best character moments in the whole series. This is easily one of my favorite episodes in the whole series, and it’s one I’ll undoubtedly come back to many times for years to come. If not just to see all the Class 1-A kids just being kids.
Seriously, can we please get a spin off series where all the 1-A kids are just hanging out and being goofballs? Please? I would actually fucking kill a man to see that!